Book: On the Island
Author: Tracey Garvis-Graves
Published: October 2011
My Rating: 5/5
When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family’s summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day. T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He’s almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn’t bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family – and a stack of overdue assignments – instead of his friends.
Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.’s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island.
Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.
Oh my god! What a book! I think I’ll never quite recovered from the emotional roller-coaster this book provided. A forever favorite, that’s for sure.
I’ve wanted to start this book since the moment I found it, but you know how it is. Life isn’t always on our side, I ended up putting it down for a little while, but I’m so glad I read it now. So glad! I was hooked since the very first chapter when we meet 16-year-old T.J, and his tutor 30-year-old English teacher Anna.
On the Island played with my emotions the way very few books have done. You should have seen my constant stats updates on goodreads. If anything, they are amusing now as I read them again. I know I’m a mess when I read a good book, shouldn’t be surprising.
Since leaving Chicago –on their way to a beach filled summer vacation –Anna and T.J experience some trouble. The trip isn’t going as planned and they are pretty delayed. When they finally arrived in Malé –though still missing a few hours by seaplane to T.J parent’s summer house –they find yet more complications. That should be warning enough, but when they find an available ride they take off immediately. But on the way –and luck really isn’t friends with them –the pilot suffers a heart attack. They are going head first into the water.
Things don’t go well for them from then on, not that they were fine in the beginning anyway. They manage to get to the shore of an island, and try to live through the days, thirsty and hungry, hoping a plane would fly by and rescue them any second.
I really felt for them as they struggled to survive. Everything was very believable and I was scared to death for them. Worrying every second they might not make it, and knowing it would break my heart.
Naturally, being in the situation they were, alone in the middle of nowhere and having no one else to lean on Anna and T.J grew close… pretty close. I’m not going to linger on the age difference situation, one because for me it’s irrelevant, and two because it’s not like they did anything when he was still underage anyways. I was really rooting for this couple, I could see T.J’s feelings for Anna growing in every chapter we saw through his point of view, and it melted me. His need to protect her and how they depended on each other was heartwarming and sweet.
These two really go through a lot together, from thirst, hunger and sickness to being attacked by sharks, jellyfish and a tsunami! Looks like someone really didn’t want them together. But who cares, they made it through it all. It just made them that much stronger.
It just made this book that much better.
I fell in love with them a little more every page. I was so glad when they were finally together, when they could lean on each other on a different level. I think I will never get over this book, I will be forever in love with it and its characters. I saw (more like read, but you get the point) them struggle to survive day by day, I saw them fall in love, I saw them cry and smile. And finally I saw them going home. I was seriously grinning then, when they found each other again and were finally on their way home.
Oh, but why would thing get easy now, right? In fact, they don’t. Yes, they are home and with their families again, but new problems are ahead of them, and their bond is at stake. The last half of the book really killed me. I knew what was coming, I knew it but I kept hoping it wouldn’t. Oh, how I cried!
It broke my heart to see them try to go on without one another, after more than 3 years of only having exactly that, each other. You have no idea how happy I was when they finally came to their senses!
On the Island is a book you don’t want to miss. It is highly recommended, but beware, you’re in for hell of a ride.
“I don’t fit in your world.”
“Neither do I,” he said, his expression tender yet resolute. “So let’s make our own. We’ve done it before.”
And now if you’ll excuse me I’ll go read it again, because I just had this sudden urge to do it. *le sigh*